Definition of Cotton

A natural vegetable fiber of great economic importance as a raw material for cloth. Its widespread use is largely due to the ease with which its fibers are spun into yarns. Cotton's strength, absorbency, and capacity to be washed and dyed also make it adaptable to a considerable variety of textile products. It is one of the world's major textile fibers.

It is obtained from bushy plants. The immature flower bud, called a square, blooms and develops into an oval fruit called a boll that splits open at maturity, revealing a mass of long white hairs, called lint, that cover the numerous brown or black seeds. There are four main types of cotton: American Upland, Egyptian, Sea Island and Asiatic. The flowers from which these different types of cotton are obtained vary in color and texture, thus providing each type of cotton with varying characteristics. Cotton, in general, is very elastic. It can withstand high temperatures, has high wash ability and is very susceptible to dyes.

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